Mass Media in the Asian Pacific

Article excerpt

Mass Media in the Asian Pacific. Bryce T. Mcintyre, ed. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters Ltd., 1998. 101 pp. $49 pbk.

Given the size of the Asian Pacific and the number of countries with their diverse and vibrant mass media, this edited monograph by Bryce T. McIntyre, an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is thin, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The flaws lie not so much in the small size of "the pool of potential contributors" as in the lack of scholarly effort to go beyond what seems available and familiar in one's academic circle or institutional home base.

The title of the monograph is misleading and the content falls far short of what it purports to do. For students who are interested in the processes and structure of Asian Pacific mass media, the book leaves much to be desired. It is not about the Asian Pacific per se, but rather greater China, presenting a parochial view of the larger geopolitical landscape that deserves more serious attention than is unduly received.

Of the seven chapters, four are devoted to Hong Kong, a city of six million people that was reverted from British to Chinese rule in July 1997. These chapters examine journalistic professionalism, TV programs and commercials, media exposure of university students, and eating and drinking habits of junior secondary students and their TV use. The remaining chapters look at the Taiwanese press and its coverage of China-Taiwan relations, development news values of the Xinhua News Agency in China, and the diffusion of television in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, respectively.

As important as the transition might be politically and socially, the focus on Hong Kong is intellectually misplaced. It is unclear why theoretically or practically such a unique case should be relevant to the research community at large. …